Santiago de Chile, the Chilean capital city, is a glistening modern metropolis situated at the foothills of the Andes. Head to the coast through the wine valleys and you reach the colorful coastal towns of Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar.

Santiago is a city of impressive vistas, pocket green spaces, cultural centers, a famous seafood market and a diverse South American architecture.

1. Cerro San Cristobal Mountain: Santiago from Above

Arriving in a new place I always love to see the city from above and Cerro San Cristobal has the best panoramic lookout.  The mountain forms part of the Parque Metropolitano which is the largest park in the city.

View from San Cerro Cristobal
View from San Cerro Cristobal

To reach the top a funicular train runs up from Plaza Caupolican, although if this is not operating you can use a taxi instead (a road meanders up the hill sides to the top). At the top of San Cristobal is an open air church with a statue of Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepcion.

2. Mercado Central Fish Market

Mercado Central is the perfect stop for lunch in the many seafood restaurants (try Donde Augusto). The market is located in the Centro district adjacent to the river Rio Mapocho.

Mercado Central Fish Market
Mercado Central Fish Market

3. Citizenship Square & Bicentennial Flag

At Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizenship Square) stands the Chilean Bicentennial Flag, a tribute to the 200th anniversary of the Chilean Independence.

Chilean Bicentennial Flag in Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizenship Square)
Chilean Bicentennial Flag in Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizenship Square)

4. Palace de la Moneda, Plaza de Armas and Museum District

Palacio de la Moneda is the official office of the President of Chile. Close by is Plaza de Armas, the main square of the city. Other historical buildings in the Plaza include the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago. This area is at the heart of Santiago and contains stunning classical Latin American architecture.

Palacio de La Moneda
Palacio de La Moneda

5.  Modern Santiago: Providencia

Providencia Park at the base of Gran Torre Santiago
Providencia Park at the base of Gran Torre Santiago

The Providencia District of Santiago is home to the Financial district. There are lots of high-rise apartments and buildings here. The Gran Torre Santiago pierces the city’s skyline as the tallest building in Latin america at 64 Stories (300m).

6. Cerro Santa Lucia

This landscaped hilltop park in Centro is a short walk up. When you arrive at the top there is an immersive vantage point overlooking the city skyline.

View from Cerro Santa Lucia
View from Cerro Santa Lucia (Taken with GoPro camera)

7. Casablanca Wine Valley

There are many wine regions within Chile which means that day trips to vineyards are accessible for most itineraries. The most famous wine regions around Santiago include Maipo, Colchagua  and Casablanca Valley.

Casablanca Valley is located between Santiago and the port city of Valparaiso, which makes it an ideal stop off point for any journey out to these coastal towns.

Casablanca Wine Valley Vineyard
Casablanca Wine Valley Vineyard

Chile is world renown for their production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenere wines. Day trips from Santiago or Valparaiso can easily be arranged from most tour operators.

8. Coastal Towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar

Escape Santiago and travel to these colourful seaside towns. The town of  Valparaiso and its smaller sister, Vina Del Mar (translates as “vineyard by the sea“). You will wander the streets of multi-coloured buildings along Valparaiso’s hillsides. If you just want to relax on a sandy beach then go to one of the beaches at Vina Del Mar.

View of colourful Valparaiso from Cerro Artilleria
View of colourful Valparaiso from Cerro Artilleria

Valparaiso is the second largest city in Chile.The port was once a strategic stop-over for ships sailing between the Pacific and Atlantic. But this changed after the opening of the Panama Canal. It’s nicknamed the “Jewel of the Pacific” because of it’s colourful urban design.

Valparaiso Port
Valparaiso Port

9. Ride an Ascensor in Valparaiso

Valparaiso Ascensor Artilleria
Valparaiso Ascensor Artilleria

The steep slopes of Valparaiso are linked with funicular railways. Ascensor Artilleria leads to a stunning viewpoint of the Port and City skyline.

Want to read more about Chile?

Read my 10 reasons why I believe Chile is the Best Adventure Travel destination to choose for your next trip.

 

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